The songs that Gabrielle Herbst writes unfold slowly and carefully, every barely perceptible shift of sonic weight shading in new colors and transporting the listener closer to some ineffable emotional truth. Back in 2015, the New York-based experimental singer and composer released her first album under the name GABI, Sympathy, on Oneohtrix Point Never mastermind Daniel Lopatin’s now-defunct Software label. And next month, she’s returning with a new album called Empty Me, her first for Brooklyn indie Double Double Whammy.
Despite the title, Empty Me is anything but. Herbst’s powerful, classically trained voice is the focal point, but numerous friends and collaborators including Julie Byrne producer Eric Littman, harpist Marilu Donovan, and bass clarinetist Mara Mayer show up to help flesh out her spare, airy soundscapes. We’ve heard two songs from the collection already, lead single “Whole With You” and mission statement “Sleep,” and now she’s shared a third, “Wild Sunflowers.”
“Wild Sunflowers” begins with nothing but Herbst’s vocals and a heartbeat-like pulse, gradually adding piano and harp before woodwinds and horns from multi-instrumentalist Aaron Roche come shining through like a break in the clouds. There’s a melodic directness almost reminiscent of Enya as Herbst elongates her syllables and layers her voice on top of itself, singing of love in simple imagistic terms: “When I get married/ I hope it’s in a field of sunflowers/ When I find love for me I hope/ It’s in a field/ Of wild sunflowers/ Wild sunflowers/ A girl can hope.” Listen below.
Empty Me is out 10/5 via Double Double Whammy. Pre-order it here.
10/03 Brooklyn, NY @ The Park Chuch Co-Op ^
11/13 Los Angeles, CA @ Resident *
11/14 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar *
11/16 Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room *
11/17 San Fransisco, CA @ The Chapel *
11/19 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge *
11/20 Seattle, WA @ The Vera Project *
11/21 Vancouver, BC @ The Biltmore *
11/30 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
12/01 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle *
12/03 Toronto, ON @ The Garrison *
12/04 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB *
12/05 Boston, MA @ The Great Scott *
12/07 Washington, DC @ DC9 *
12/08 Brooklyn, NY @ The Park Chuch Co-Op *
^ Empty Me Record Release Show w/ Julianna Barwick & Foxes In Fiction
* w/ Mutual Benefit